An early childhood program that is improving the lives of children in Hume is being recognised and celebrated as being among the state’s best, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Yuroke Ros Spence today announced the ASPIRE project led by Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School as one of 20 Victorian Early Years Awards finalists, who are being recognised for their outstanding contributions to the early childhood education sector across the state.

Nearly a fifth of students at Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School were developmentally vulnerable in two or more domains, according to data from the 2015 Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). Eighty-five per cent of students at Good Samaritan are from non-English speaking backgrounds, including many refugees who fled Iraq.

To support their students and families, the school created the ASPIRE project. The project provides earlier access to a range of early childhood education, care, health and development supports for disadvantaged children.

ASPIRE has helped parents to understand the range of services they can draw on and significantly increased the rate at which the school identifies and addresses areas of developmental and wellbeing needs for children.

Now in its 14th year, the Victorian Early Years Awards recognise the crucial work of early childhood professionals in helping young children to learn and thrive.

Award winners in each category will receive up to $15,000 to continue their exceptional work in kindergarten services, schools, local councils, maternal child and health services and other early years organisations across the state.

The awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of early childhood professionals across seven award categories, including supporting parents and the early childhood teacher of the year.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 22 October at the National Gallery of Victoria.  For more details on this year’s finalists, see:

Quotes attributable to Member for Yuroke Ros Spence:

“Congratulations to the fantastic team at Good Samaritan Catholic Primary School on going above and beyond to ensure that local children get the best start in life – regardless of their background.”